Anyone that is into beer knows full well that Belgian Ales are some of the best in the world. Even the though the United States is catching up very quickly, and U.S. breweries are making some great mock Belgian Ales, the truth is there is no substitution for the history and skill that exists in Belgium. That being said, I had never (before now) sampled a beer from Struise. My brother had gotten me two of these 11.2 oz bottles as a Christmas gift. I drank one two days after the holiday, and saved this one to sample further down the road for a review. I was amazed with how much the nose on the beer changed in just three months, and the overall taste of the beer. So, here' my review of Struise's Elliot Brew. Enjoy!
Beer Name: Elliot Brew-Vintage 2011
Brewery: Struise Brewery
Location: Woesten-Vleteren, Belgium
Style: Double IPA
Packaging: 11.2 oz bottle
Price: $8+/11.2 oz bottle
IBU's: 216 (holy crap)
Appearance: A dark, coppery amber hue (reminiscent of a red ale), with a large, pronounced creamy white head that is 2-3 fingers thick. A ton of lacing on this brew, and the head takes forever to dissipate. The lacing sticks firmly to the tulip glass, with a generous coat all the way around the glass.
Aroma: A lot of candied sugar on the nose, as well as caramel, and spice notes from the Belgian yeast (clove, pepper, and nutmeg). Not getting much as far as hops on the nose at all.
Taste/Mouthfeel: A medium body, with a moderate amount of carbonation and a somewhat dry finish. Up front there's a lot of the candied sugar, followed by sweet biscuit flavor profiles. However, the dominant sweetness quickly recedes to a very bitter, dry, and hoppy finish. There is an excellent candied sugar coating on the roof of my mouth, coupled with a dry finish over the tongue to the back of my mouth. A nice combination of sweetness and dryness on this brew. The hops are only present for me on the back end of the tasting, and they're more of a bittering agent in the brew than a floral/aroma hop presence.
Overall: 8.5/10 This is a solid Belgian style brew, but it's not a DIPA as far as "American" IPA's go. I didn't get a lot of aroma hops, but the hops are surely present on the finish of the beer (bitter as all holy hell). I would've thought that with 216 IBU's the bitterness would have been present throughout the brew, but the candied sweetness really quells the hop bite, and holds it off to the very end. The beer is very spicey, due to the Belgian style of yeast. It makes for a very interesting brew, and a very complex flavor profile (spicey, sweet, and bitter). I would more classify this brew as a Belgian dubbel, but definitely not an DIPA. Overall, a very good brew. Cheers!